Oaklands students get sight savvy at Guide Dog Information Day

14 May 2018

Students from Oaklands College got to experience first-hand what life is like with a visual impairment at the College’s recent Guide Dog Information Day at St Albans Campus.

The college’s Enrichment team paired up with the local arm of nationwide charity Guide Dogs UK, welcoming students and staff to enjoy a host of activities to learn about people living with sight loss and the important work guide dogs do to support them.

Leading the event was enrichment officer Kate Vallory, who created a similar event last year following students’ interest in her guide Dog Becket and her own experience of visual impairment. Kate teamed with Guide Dogs UK to allow staff and students the opportunity to engage in a host of activities and ask questions to the experts to enhance their own awareness and understanding of the essential work guide dogs do in supporting those with a visual impairment.

In addition to activities such as guide dog demonstrations, blindfolded cane walking and blindfolded taste tests in the self-made ‘Sticky Paws Café’ - showing students how simple everyday tasks can be challenged with a visual impairment.

Fundraising from the day raised over £100 for the charity generated from the sale of Braille cupcakes, keyrings and a host of goodies from Guide Dogs UK, with a further £150 donated by the College.

Head of Student Services Gayle Brown said: “This event welcomed students and staff from all across the college, including those in Supported Learning through to mainstream students who may not have had the opportunity to experience a session like this in their day-to-day lives.

“Over 200 students took part in the sessions – each one leaving more informed, aware and considerate to those with sight loss around college and the wider community – a skill students will use here and also carry through in their future endeavors.”

Guide Dogs UK Community Fundraising Development Officer, Joanne Landucci said: “Many thanks to Oaklands College for allowing us to host a Guide Dog awareness day with their students.  

“It was a pleasure to meet such responsive young adults, and a great joy to know that they had all broadened their knowledge about visual impairment by the end of the sessions.”